Urban Repair Squad strikes again, with a never-ending bike lane as part of an AGO exhibit.
Bicycles are ubiquitous in any great city—and so is contemporary art. Artists Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette get that. The two are currently collaborating on NOW, an installation project at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Young Gallery. It includes an artist workspace, a visitor’s lounge with a comment board, and two time-lapse videos of the graffiti writing taking place a bit further afield. What those videos show: a changing series of murals, painted outside the gallery in an alley off Nassau Street in Kensington market, and then each painted over to make way for the next design.
Martindale and Paquette recently asked guerilla street artists Urban Repair Squad to paint one of those murals for the video, called Whitewash.
“We invited current and active street and graffiti artists to paint that wall, then Sean and I paint it over with white paint. The video in our exhibition shows us doing that,” says Paquette. “The video is a reaction to Ford’s erasing our fine works of art, but also to how ephemeral the art form is.”
When URS first started painting bike lanes, they were known to leave notes like “City broke, we fix—no charge.” (You can read about their cost-effective, statement-making art in the very first issue of dandyhorse.) Those DIY lanes were covered over by the City, usually pretty quickly. The “Wile E. Ford” mural, as the URS artists are calling it, will also be painted over later today or tomorrow—this time to make room for the next art work in the exhibition.
We know our mayor thinks the idea of a connected network of bike lanes across our gridlock-choked city is “Looney Tunes”—making this a fun little act of levity that also highlights very real concerns about safe cycling in this city.
Photos by Martin Reis.